Fines could be imposed on people – without them being taken to court – if their rubbish ends up in an illegal tip, under a proposed fresh law.
The measure can be being suggested as part of a government consultation to tackle fly-tipping in England in addition to Wales.
Under the plans, households could be hit using a £400 maximum penalty for failing to take “reasonable measures” to ensure rubbish isn’t being taken away by an “unauthorised person”.
The move can be meant to encourage people to check the Environment Agency (or Natural Resources Wales) online register to learn whether the person taking away their household rubbish can be registered to do so.
Even though the item’s already illegal to allow an unauthorised person to remove domestic waste, issuing fixed penalties would certainly be an alternative to going to court – which could save local authorities money inside the long run.
Reality Check asked the government how many people have been previously prosecuted because of that will offence. We were told a breakdown of the different types of offences was not available.
Fly-tipping, as defined by the House of Commons Library, can be “the illegal disposal of household, industrial, commercial or various other ‘controlled’ waste without a waste management licence”.
On the face of the item, the item’s getting worse.
inside the last financial year (April 2016 – March 2017) there were one million fly-tipping incidents in England – the equivalent of nearly 114 every hour,
that will represents a 7% increase coming from the previous year in addition to the fourth year in a row that will fly-tipping has increased.
In Wales a similar trend was recorded. Local authorities reported 38,614 fly-tipping incidents, an increase of 6% on the previous year.
Not only can be the number of incidents rising, yet the number of prosecutions in England has fallen to a record low.
There were 1,571 fly-tipping prosecutions brought by English councils in 2016-17 – a significant decrease of 25% coming from the previous year.
yet the prosecution data doesn’t tell the full story.
Since May 2016, councils in England have been able to issue separate fines of up to £400 for tiny scale fly-tipping offences.
inside the 12 months after being given the fresh power, 56,000 fixed penalties were given out.
that will’s an increase of 56% coming from the previous year (when 36,000 were issued).
that will means that will for every one prosecution, 36 fixed penalty notices were issued.
yet what’s behind the increase in fly-tipping inside the first place?
Unfortunately, that will’s a much harder question to answer.
According to the National Fly-Tipping Prevention Group, financial gains (or savings) are the main motivations for fly-tipping.
Others factors include “laziness in addition to an attitude that will someone else will clear up the waste”.
Prof Simin Davoudi, an expert in environmental policy at Newcastle University, says a lack of local facilities in addition to the cost of getting bulky items legally collected are to blame.
“A not bad example can be Nottingham City Council,” she said. “They have shown that will fly-tipping can be reduced if local authorities collect some of these items free of charge. They introduced free collection in addition to they have reduced fly-tipping inside the city by nearly 42%.”
yet the Local Government Association, which represents councils, told Reality Check there was “no evidence” to link charging with an increase in fly-tipping.
The government says the apparent increase in fly-tipping over recent years may, in part, be because of more incidents being reported by local authorities as a result of fresh online reporting methods.
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